brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

John Knight johnknight at
Mon Aug 19 03:44:31 EST 2002

"Tom Breton" <tehom at> wrote in message
news:m3sn1ckoh0.fsf at
> [Followups remove alt.religion.wicca,alt.religion as severely off-topic]
> > Joseph A Nagy Jr <pagan_prince at> writes:
> >
> > > Tom Breton wrote:
> > >
> > >  > You know, I agree her accomplishments have been Feministly
> > >  > out of all proportion, but I certainly don't agree she set back
> > >  > or nuclear research.  AFAICT, she was a very capable assistant to
> > >  > Pierre.  It's not a negative thing.
> >
> > >  Assistant my ass. You obviously didn't read the site, either.
> I already addressed his, but let me expand on it:
> You referred to No, I'm being too
> polite: you copped an attitude.  You said anyone who didn't agree with
> you "must not have read it".
> The fawning tone of the article seems to have convinced you that Marie
> Curie was no assistant.  It's too bad that a lot of spin and glittering
> but vague praise have that effect on you.  You really should try to see
> past the words that tell you what to feel and read for facts.
> Even if you insist on getting your Curie information from this fawning
> site, the little bit of factual content that it includes obliquely
> admits the opposite.
> The facts are that "their" career of discovery was essentially all his
> career.  Presupposing for a moment, for the sake of argument, that she
> was an equal contributor when they were together, her part began when
> she met him, and essentially ended when he died.  (Pretty well known,
> actually).  IOW, her big accomplishment was assisting him.
> Now you will scream, of course, because
> goes to great lengths to
> disguise that reality.  If one paid attention only to the vague but
> glittering praise, one would get the impression that she did a great
> deal after his death.  But if one reads with just a little bit of
> skepticism, one sees that the only thing that can be construed as a
> scientific achievement was helping to isolate radium.
> This was work which was begun while Pierre lived, though you'd never
> know it from this biased article.  For instance, it says:
> During that summer, Marie's research program-- to identify and
> isolate radioactive elements--intensified.
> Which translates as,
> "We know very well that Pierre began the
> work of isolating radioactive elements.  For her to continue
> it after his death is too much like following instructions
> for us to Feministly be comfortable with.  So we'll call it
> "Marie's research program" - that can kind of be justified,
> since he was dead, but it leads readers to assume more than
> that.  And we'll say it "intensified" because if we just say
> "continued", readers will figure it out."
> The site also downplays André Debierne's work.
> So behind the glittering praise, the most one can say is, she was part
> of a team including André Debierne that successfully continued Pierre's
> project of isolating radium, which Pierre had discovered.  And this was
> the high point of her post-mortem scientific discovery.  Not negligible,
> of course, but nothing like what spin-doctors make it out to be.
> Let's look at another piece of spin.  It actually caught my eye because
> it seemed to support you, until one looks closely.
> ... the president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
> explained why Curie's 1898 discovery of two new elements
> deserved this additional recognition.
> Now, I trust that most readers can see the loaded, question-begging
> terms used.  The term "explained" presupposes that the thing "explained"
> is true, and so forth.  Question-begging terms.
> But those who fail to take note of dates may miss the fact that 1989 was
> well before Pierre's death.  Once again, the credit she's getting is
> essentially for her husband's work.
> So this is the collection of shameless half-truths you are telling us
> should be taken as authority.  No, thanks.
> In a final remark, let me emphasize that I don't denigrate Marie Curie's
> work.  I *certainly* don't think she set back France or nuclear
> research.  I just don't like see it spun and made out to be more than it
> was.  I can see past the spin, and I wish you could too.
> --
> Tom Breton at, username tehom.

The problem with presuming that Marie's contribution was anything other than
"artistic", as Pierre wrote, is that we haven't a shred of evidence that
there has been a woman "physicist" in the century since Marie got the Nobel
Prize who feminazis can quote with such regularity.  It's kind of like the
sodomites claiming that faggots like Matthew Shepard are killed by
"homophobes" all the time, but they always refer back to ONE example that
occurred years ago--where was the follow through?

The other problem is that, unless Polish girls are a durn sight smarter than
American girls, then there is no hope of ever discovering another woman
"physicist".  The inability and unwillingness of "liberals" to grasp some of
the most basic concepts like this can probably never be changed, no matter
how much this nation spends for "education".  They are in fact living proof
that doubling the cost of education from 4% to 8% of GDP is most likely a
major reason SAT scores plunged 98 points, the US scored dead last in 17 of
34 TIMSS subjects, and American 12th grade girls scored lower on one third
of the multiple choice questions than if they'd just guessed.

Is it even possible that there may be some truth to the statement:  "Indeed,
we know that they do not ... guess randomly when faced with a test question
they do not understand"?

No, there is not.   When American girls failed to correctly answer so many
multiple choice questions, and when the test results show that they did not
omit the question and did provide at least some kind of a response, then we
know that they guessed at many of the answers.  Is it possible that their
guesses were not random?

The only evidence that they didn't guess randomly on many questions is the
fact that they scored lower on one third of the TIMSS physics questions than
if they had just guessed randomly.  This means that there was some factor
that influenced them to answer the questions wrong, so their answers cannot
be considered to be random.  Whether this is because they were taught the
wrong thing in the classroom (even though the boys sitting right next to
them were taught the right thing), or because they believed the myth about
"women's intuition" and decided to rely on this rather than answer the
question based on what they were taught, is irrelevant.  The fact is that
being so consistent in selecting the wrong answer on this third of the test
is the only evidence we have that they didn't guess randomly.

Of the 38 physics questions for which the answers were made available to the
public, the amount by which girls scored higher than if they had just
guessed was statistically significant on 17 of them, the amount by which
they scored higher or lower than if they had just guessed was not
statistically significant on 12 of them, and the amount by which they scored
lower than if they had just guessed was statistically significant on 9 of

Of the 17 questions or 45% of the test where the amount by which they scored
higher than if they'd just guessed and their responses were statistically
significant, they scored significantly lower than boys on 9 (24% of the
test), significantly higher on 1 (2.6% of the test), and the difference
between boys and girls was not statistically significant on 7 of them (18%
of the test).   Of the 12 questions or 32% of the test where their response
was not statistically significant, they scored significantly lower than boys
on 4 and the difference was not statistically significant on 8 of them.  Of
the 9 questions or 24% of the test where the amount by which they scored
significantly lower than if they'd just guessed, they scored significantly
lower than boys on 8 and significantly higher than boys on 1.

On some questions there may have been a clue that caused them to select one
answer over the other, so it could be argued that guesses on some other
questions were also not random.  But when their responses were not
statistically significant on almost a third of the test, or 32% of the
questions, we know that at least ONE question didn't provide any clues like
this, which would mean that the only way they were able to provide a
response was to guess randomly, which makes this statement false.  It's
highly likely that their responses to all 12 questions were based solely on
random guesses, which means that we know that they DID "guess randomly", not
that they did not.

Because their responses were lower than if they'd just guessed or were not
statistically significant on 21 questions, the results of this 55% of the
test cannot be used to assess their skills.

Had Marie taken GRE or TIMSS, it's doubtful if she would have been on the
upper edge of the female Gaussian Distribution, and even if she was, she
would have scored lower than the median for boys.  How can physicists come
from this intellectual sphere?

John Knight

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